Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the May/June 2016 issue of Catster print magazine. Click here to subscribe to Catster magazine.
Ragamuffins are so sweet, you just want to eat them up. That’s not quite how they got their name, but it sure could be. More of an endearing urchin than sorry creature in rags, these gentle giants of the cat world love nothing more than a good lap and an admiring audience.
The extremely friendly cats — who can approach or even exceed the size of a small dog — are sweet and mellow. If you’re looking for a pet to cuddle with, these people-loving felines are ideal. The Ragamuffin’s snuggly relaxed nature and large size make him a sturdy playmate for kids and a calm companion for seniors.
Living with a Ragamuffin
Ragamuffins are calm and easy-going. They’ll do what you want to do, whether that’s learn to walk on a leash or have a tea party with the kids.
While the “rag” in his name is an allusion to his habit of going limp in people’s arms, it doesn’t mean he can be dragged around like a ragdoll. This is a substantial cat who should be held and carried properly by supporting his hind end.
The Ragamuffin can adapt to many types of homes and families as long as he gets lots of love and attention from people who will appreciate his constant presence.
A Ragamuffin does best when given plenty of playtime, training, and attention. Do get a Ragamuffin if you want a cat who will get along with other cats and dogs and enjoy playing with kids. Don’t get a Ragamuffin if you would be annoyed by his strong desire to be in your lap.
Things you should know
There’s a lot to love about this laid-back cat.
The Ragamuffin is one of the largest cat breeds, weighing eight to 20 pounds (males are larger). It can take four years for these large-boned cats to reach full physical maturity, and they typically have a pad of fat on the abdomen. Watch their diet so they don’t become obese.
Given good care and nutrition, a Ragamuffin can live as long as 18 years, and some exceed that lifespan.
Despite having a lush-looking medium-length coat, the Ragamuffin is low maintenance when it comes to grooming. The coat doesn’t tangle easily and feels like silky soft bunny fur. A weekly brushing keeps it beautiful.
The Ragamuffin is a generally healthy breed, but a kitten’s parents should be DNA-tested clear of heart disease (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) as well as polycystic kidney disease. Brush his teeth, as he can be prone to periodontal disease.
Ragamuffin come in many coat colors and patterns. Their large, expressive eyes, which may be slightly slanted, can be any color. Some have odd eyes, meaning each eye is a different color, a condition known as heterochromia.
Ragamuffins differ from Ragdolls in several ways. They come in more colors and patterns; have puffier whisker pads and a chubbier appearance overall; their fur is slightly shorter and thicker; their eyes are shaped like walnuts instead of almonds; and their ears tilt forward rather than to the side.
The Ragamuffin is an offshoot of the Ragdoll, created in 1994 by Ragdoll breeders who wanted to add genetic diversity to the breed.
To achieve their goals, breeders crossed Ragdolls with Persians, Himalayans, and domestic long-haired cats. They first called the cat they developed the Liebling (German for “darling”) but soon switched to Ragamuffin in a nod to the breed’s forebears.
The Cat Fanciers’ Association began registering Ragamuffins in 2003, followed by full championship status in 2011.
In 2014, the Ragamuffin was the 33rd most popular breed registered by the CFA out of 43.